You can take the girl out of West Virginia, but she will still be transported to another time and place by the smell of a campfire and the sound of birds early in the morning, when not one car passes. She will still scoff at New Yorkers’ exaggerated reactions to two inches of snow. She’ll shake her head at the farmers’ markets, especially the half-pints of fresh blackberries that cost $7. She’ll hang onto past-prime, broken-down shoes “just in case” she needs them for something dirty. She’ll always be able to think of something to do, even when there’s nothing to do, even during this time of coronavirus. And in the summer, all she’ll want is a tire tube and a river.
You can take the girl out of Penn State, but she will always light up at Nittany Lion bumper stickers. She will compulsively shout, “We Are!” at strangers wearing PSU gear, and her favorite sweatshirt will still be from PSU. She will be transported by the tunes of “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Sweet Caroline” to the seething masses of the stadium. Unicycles will always remind her of Unicycle Boy, who held books in one hand and coffee in the other. She will still shake her head at farmer’s markets, because nothing can compare to the cream-filled donuts from Amish country. She will always hold her PSU friendships dear, no matter how far abroad she goes. And in the summer, all she’ll want is Creamery ice cream in hand, Arts Festival stands on both sides, and the hottest July sun.
You can take the girl out of Italy, but she will always judge a bar by how well they make a Negroni. She will still think in Italian expressions that convey a feeling more accurately than English, or are just plain easier to use and come to the tongue quicker–magari! Boh. Ecco. After all the Asian-inspired food, and the fun restaurants, and the unimaginable sweets and desserts with new, never-tasted ingredients, she will still crave Italian. She will still only ever order a cappuccino or macchiato and use the moka every morning. She’ll always be a little bit surprised when people take less than 20 minutes to say goodbye. She will continue to shake her head at the farmer’s markets, because have you seen the farmer’s markets in Italy? And in the summer, all she’ll want are the white sands and clear blue waters of Puglia.
If we’re lucky, we have multiple places that leave their marks on our hearts and skin and minds and soul. A mix of bittersweet nostalgia and fond memory. I wouldn’t trade these places for anything. And I wonder, what will NYC leave?